Another festival space like Celebration Square might be built in Mississauga

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Published February 15, 2024 at 12:28 pm

Mississauga looks for another venue like Celebration Square.
Celebration Square can no longer host all the large festivals looking to book space at Mississauga's popular downtown venue.

Mississauga might build another large venue like Celebration Square since it’s become clear to officials that the popular downtown core gathering space can no longer meet the fast-growing demand for major summer festivals.

With 31 applications received from groups seeking to hold large-scale festivals and events this spring, summer and early fall at the square, Mississauga officials say they can accommodate only 17 of those.

That leaves numerous well-organized and previously well-attended festivals out in the cold–as far as Celebration Square is concerned–and forces them to work with City of Mississauga officials to find another spot to host their event.

Port Credit Memorial Park, Paramount Fine Foods Centre and Totoredaca Park in the city’s north end work fine in many cases as an alternative, officials note, but for many community groups they’re not equatable to the square in terms of location, amenities and other considerations.

Discussion at Wednesday’s city council meeting about the limited number of festival dates available at Celebration Square prompted suggestions that a second venue much like the square be built in Mississauga — preferably, according to at least one councillor, as close to the City Centre as possible.

“The city is further ahead if we have more Celebration Squares,” Ward 7 Coun. Dipika Damerla said in the midst of the discussion.

Ward 5 Coun. Carolyn Parrish suggested new parkland being developed in the Cooksville area of the city might fit the bill for another Celebration Square-like venue.

“I think it’s time for us to invest in another location that’s going to be large enough (and) close enough to the City Centre…maybe the new parkland that’s going in in Ward 7, which we’ve spent a fortune buying out houses to put that parkland in, (might work),” the councillor offered, adding an element of that space “should be another location for festivals so we can actually build it from scratch and have a second location.

“We’re a very big city now and we have a very large multicultural population, and the disappointment that’s being experienced (by festival organizers and those who attend the events) is not good for us. It’s not good publicity for us.”

Ward 1 Coun. Stephen Dasko said while it’s a good thing Mississauga has become a city of many major festivals, appropriate venues must be made available to those who organize them.

“Part of where we’re at, I think, is we’re victims of our own success at Celebration Square and also getting known more as the city that has great festivals,” he told his colleagues and senior city staff.

“Maybe this is the time we look to really roll up our sleeves and put in for some infrastructure to have something that’s in the north part (of the city),” Dasko added, suggesting Totoredaca Park could be upgraded.

He said he’ll work with staff “to see if (there’s) some sort of path forward we can find because we never want to lose a festival as far as I’m concerned.”

Jodi Robillos, Mississauga’s commissioner of community services, said the demand for large-scale festivals and events to be held at the square has grown dramatically in recent years.

“There was a time, if you can imagine, that we had more dates on Celebration Square than we had groups that wanted to use those dates; we are far past that now,” she told council, adding festivals that will miss the cut this year “are all great events with good intentions, but we only have so many spaces allocated on the square.

“I understand that everybody loves Celebration Square and it’s convenient with the technology that’s there,” but all groups cannot be accommodated, Robillos continued.

She added a final schedule of spring, summer and early fall festivals and events at Celebration Square will be available in the coming weeks.

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